219 Dark Matter

Why he picked up a gun and started killing other kids …

Summary: A shooting at an area high school brings back bad memories for Charlie and serious questions about the number of shooters involved.

Original air date:
April 7, 2006 (US)

Written by: Don McGill

Directed by: Peter Ellis

Opening numbers:

4: years
1.8 Million: Hazings
192: Rounds
6: Minutes

Family Concepts: (character development)

  • Larry plays retro video games
  • Larry enjoys dancing
  • Larry and Megan have their first date at an Ethiopian restaurant
  • Larry has been to Ethiopia for a conference
  • Colby went to a high school with only 200 kids
  • Megan was a mess in high school
  • Megan’s parents belonged to a country club and are listed on the Social Register
  • Megan can play every ball game known to man
  • Alan has another date with Donna the caterer

Episode Quotes:

  • Don: By “we” I mean Charlie.
  • Charlie: God, I vowed never to return to high school.
  • Larry: If your main goal is simply to shoot other students, why such a convoluted path?
    Amita: I dont’ know; insanity maybe?
  • David: Five bucks says he runs.
    Colby: Ten bucks says I catch him.
  • Don: What do you want from me. I like to see how they spin it.

Episode Synopsis:

A school shooting has left eight people dead and another twelve injured. Among the dead is one of the shooters, but the other is still at large.  Don and his team work with Charlie to map out how kids ran away from the shooters to find the path the shooters took through the school.  It’s discovered that the dead shooter was part of a group of gamers at the school called the DMG (Dark Matter Guild) and a student reporter, Karen Camden had done a piece on the kids for the school paper.

Megan interviews Karen and learns she was afraid of one of the boys, Justin Price, since he was into guns and fantasized about the Columbine shooting.  Tracing Justin’s movements, Colby and David find him at an all night cyber-cafe, however when they try to arrest him, he opens fire and is killed by SWAT team members on the scene. An investigation of Justin turnsup a collection of guns his uncle had but is now missing.

Charlie, Larry and Amita work out a series of pursuit graphs to try and map the killer’s routes but find an anomaly in the data; it seems there is a group of students seemingly running toward the second shooter.  After walking the route at the school, Charlie discovers there is actually a third shooter involved.

While on their first date, Megan and Larry discuss the case and megan admits a certain frustration with solving it. Larry suggests if the answer isn’t what Megan wants she should be asking a different question.  This leads to an analysis of the third shooter’s route in detail.  While the first and second shooters are very predictable in their pursuit pattern, the third shooter is very circuitous, it seems as though the third shooter is targeting specific people, instead of random targets.

An investigation of the three boys killed by the third shooter reveals that all three were at a party several months ago that got out of hand.  Karen Camden was also at this party.  Megan and Colby go to Karen’s mother to find out if anything happened at that party, and Karen admits she was the third shooter and she killed the three boys because they had raped her at the party.